Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Teach real math through computer programing

In this TED Talk, Conrad Wolfram says:
... the part of math we teach -- calculation by hand -- isn't just tedious, it's mostly irrelevant to real mathematics and the real world. He presents his radical idea: teaching kids math through computer programming.
This is a full TED Talk, it will last 17 minutes but it is well worth it.

I remember struggling with word problems for a time in my early schools days. Some additional help was required and then one day, it clicked. I realized that the words could indeed be changed to an equation, that the equation could indeed be solved. Since then, problem solving has been one of my strengths. Not even the world's worst word problem stops me any more:

If a hen and a half laid an egg and a half in a day and a half, how long would it take a monkey 
with a wooden leg to kick all the seeds out of a dill pickle?

Once I found this problem in Tom Robbins novel "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues", it went to memory and hasn't left yet.

Do you have a memorable word problem?

Franklin, MA

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